This is the Australia Mission Log written by our Ops officer, Captain Mandy Ison, chronicling her adventures on an away mission to study 21st century Australia as Starfleet Command sends her back in time to reconstruct a lost and hazy past.
Read her latest updates through the wormhole as she impersonates a student at the University of Sydney in the year 2001 and dives into a bygone culture and way of living!
The Ulysses has reduced speed to impulse as it approaches the Ceti Alpha wormhole. I am in my quarters, reading the last of the wormhole data logs I requested from Starfleet Command. I have been studying this phenomenon in the three months since I was assigned the project to return and observe the culture of 21st century Australia. I have to admit I was flabbergasted by the honor, and by the fact that such a wormhole existed.
I won’t dwell on Starfleet’s need for secrecy, and my studies have revealed that it is not quite a wormhole, more of a temporal rift of a permanent and predictable nature on the border of the Beta and Alpha Quadrant near Ceti Alpha V, ironically. The USS Eclipse, a Nova-class starship captained by Benjamin Lucas, was the first to discover this phenomenon in 2373. Since then, Starfleet has performed a series of extensive studies on it.
Starfleet considers this an invaluable opportunity to recover history lost in the Eugenics Wars and World War III. They have already sent one individual back for a short, 2 week but successful survey mission. I am the second phase in their studies. Since I originally entered Starfleet to specialize in survey missions of pre-warp technology cultures, my initial training in this field, and my fascination with Old Earth history, which has led to a strong grasp of the bygone culture and language, makes me the perfect candidate for a 2nd, longer survey mission.
If my mission is concluded successfully, Starfleet will permanently station personnel at observation posts in Earth’s history. Mind-boggling. Since we know so little of what was then called Australia, this country has been deemed a “safe” and potentially enlightening area of study.
I have a standing order to arrive in Ten Forward at 1200 sharp by Commander Gengo…who issued the order with a telling smile. The hour approaches, so this concludes my first Australia Mission Log. My next report will be from the planet surface of Old Earth. I am looking forward to the start of this mission.
February 3, 2001:
Wormhole approach and time travel initiation was successful. The shuttle exited the temporal rift behind a disconcertedly bare and unexplored Mars. On schedule, I contacted the personnel on the underground Mars observation post before turning the nose of the shuttle towards Earth.
My orders were to contact the base in the hills of Los Angeles and beam down to the surface, the shuttle returning on automatic pilot to Mars. This was done without detection from Earth’s current sensor technology. I reported to my commanding officer, and was informed that I would be taking an ‘airplane’ out of LAX with a group of exchange students and handed me the necessary documents to board it. I changed into native attire as personnel moved my prepared luggage, complete with ‘camera’ and clothes, to our transportation.The drive down to the airport was educational; I experienced a traffic jam. I don’t recommend them. Once deposited at the terminal, it was an easy enough matter to check in and find the correct gate. However, I was wishing for a grav lift by the time I checked in my luggage.
I met up with two other exchange students in the waiting area. We had a fun time ‘getting to know each other’ and talking to two Australian men sitting across from us. We quizzed them about Australian culture and they were extremely obliging. If this was an example of their hospitality, I was looking forward to my stay in Australia.As my friends and I talked, their sense of excitement began to infect me as well. I had to use Vulcan meditation techniques to calm my rising nervousness and the sense of shared exhilaration. I was here! I was really doing this! Inflight to Sydney, me and Lisa in our seats.
On the plane, I was seated next to one of my new friends on my right. On my left, was a Canadian student on his way to Perth. Behind us were three Australian gentlemen and across the aisle five more. My friend informed me that the alcohol on international flights was free, and all our newfound friends and I decided to indulge. Needless to say, we were the happiest, picture-taking section on the plane. I think I’ll go to sleep now.
March 23, 2001:
It’s been over a month since I first arrived in Australia and so much has happened since then. With my new friends from the exchange program, I have been to Canberra, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, down the coast to Wollongong and Kiama, and up the coast to Port Stephens for 3 days of sea kayaking, sand-duning, jet boating, sun bathing, and dolphin watching. I have also gone with friends to Tropfest, Sydney’s premiere independent film festival, and to the Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade, which proved enlightening.
As an ‘American’ abroad, I have received both positive and negative reactions from the populace. A recent shooting at a school in the United States has prompted questions if I ‘kick myself’ for forgetting to have my ‘gun’ with me. Others have admired my American accent, and eagerly asked about politics in the United States of which I can happily claim complete ignorance.Mimicking student social behavior, I have joined a Sailing Club. We have voyaged into the open seas twice now on beautifully clear and calm days. Tiny, green islands dot the inner harbor area, and the tips of the Opera House sails can be seen over the buildings in the bay. The wind is a fickle source of propulsion, and we have often drifted dangerously close to rocks and sand bars. It has been exhilarating.
The public transit, which I must rely upon to reach inner city Sydney or Rushcutter’s Bay, is somewhat stressful. Just thinking about the primitive technology involved, the level of training of the bus drivers (or lack of), and the alarming speeds with which they barely avoid collisions, is enough to make me cling to a handrail.
The Sydney-siders seem equally contemptuous of traffic, repeatedly defying death by perching on the edges of sidewalks and crossing streets at will, ‘flipping off’ drivers that honk and shout at them. At intersections where accidents have inevitably occurred, the city has painted the outlines of bodies on the asphalt where people have been struck and presumably died, a grisly reminder to all pedestrians and drivers, though this seems to have no effect whatsoever. Closing hailing frequencies…
The Australia Mission Log will also be available in the Ulysses Newsletter for the year 2001. To receive our newsletter in the convenience of your own inbox, sign-up using our CommLink (obsolete)! It is an html document in frames, that ranges from 300-570 KB.